Layla became homeless at 18. She called the Centrepoint Helpline who were able to arrange an assessment with the Homeless Prevention and Relief Service (HPRS) in Manchester. She is now living in a self-contained flat and supported by Centrepoint’s Floating Support Team.
In the spring of 2023, Layla had a serious falling out with her mum over finances. She was working as a cleaner and despite already paying her share for her upkeep, her mum asked her for more money or threatened to throw her out.
“I knew my mum would spend it on drugs so I didn’t want to give it to her. I had hardly any money in my account and had been supporting her for a while. I didn’t want to enable her habit.”
Mental health breakdown
For some time, Layla had been struggling with her mental health and the situation with her mum caused her to have a serious episode.
“I became so upset and angry; probably the angriest I’ve ever felt," she explains. "I told her that I would give her the money if I could see it was going on bills, but she wouldn’t make that promise. I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. I needed to get away from her because living with her was extremely damaging to my mental health. I was scared that I would cause harm to myself or my mum so I called the police and asked them to come and get me because I couldn’t control how I was feeling. I also thought about my brother who had just come out of care and I didn’t want something to happen to me which would mean I couldn’t be there for him. I only got him back in my life again a year ago.”
The police came and after Layla told them what had happened and took Layla to hospital.
The hospital then helped to secure her emergency accommodation for three nights and recommended she ring the Centrepoint Helpline to advise on longer-term support.
Support from Centrepoint
“The Helpline reassured me and made me feel calm. They were able to get me an assessment with the HPRS team the same day which I couldn't believe."
Layla went to Centrepoint a couple of hours after her call and was seen by Rebecca, an HPRS worker, for an assessment.
“Rebecca was so helpful,” she remembers. “She was new in the role, but you'd never have known that and got me into emergency accommodation the same day and even stayed past closing to make sure I got settled. Once I was in the new accommodation, she phoned me regularly to make sure I was ok. She showed me how to get my benefits set up and then a week and a half later she got me into a hostel where I stayed for six weeks before they found me the flat I am in now.”
Rebecca says, “Layla was the first case I worked with start to finish and I’ve not yet come across another young person as proactive as she was in making sure her situation improved.”
Today, Layla is feeling a lot better. The flat she’s in is managed by Centrepoint and it’s in her home town so she’s nearer her friends and support network.
“I feel so lucky,” she reflects, “The flat is affordable, freshly painted and it’s the perfect size for me. I’ve been here three months now and I’ve settled in really nicely.”
Layla says she feels incredibly grateful for the support Centrepoint have provided.“It was really scary being in that position, but now I am doing so much better and I owe it all to Centrepoint’s support. The workers there were so good and broke down difficult to understand information which can be really overwhelming and just went above and beyond to help me.”
Independent living skills
Wendy, Layla’s floating support worker says,
“I am supporting Layla around working towards independence and preparing her for her own tenancy in the future. When a young person has been supported into safer, suitable accommodation, the next steps are crucial in order to develop those vital life skills. Floating Support provides these very important skills and tenancies would fail without such intervention with young people who have had unsettled and often traumatic lives.”
Layla confirms this, “I had no idea what I was going to do when I left my mums. I had no idea how to do anything, how to pay bills and rent. The staff at Centrepoint helped me sort my rent and learn how to budget. It can feel overwhelming, but with their support, it hasn’t felt so scary."
Although Layla is settled in her new place, she does struggle to make ends meet and often relies on food parcels from her floating support worker at Centrepoint.
“I lost my job after I was made homeless. They said that they couldn’t give me the hours, but I feel like it’s because I had to take time off after everything that happened due to the effect on my mental health and the fact I was living further away. It felt like it was just an excuse and I didn’t have the energy to fight it. It was just four weeks after I was made homeless. They knew my situation, but they still let me go.”
“I was really struggling with money at the time as I couldn’t cook in the temporary accommodation so was having to spend my money on takeaways and there were no decent shops nearby. I was in a hotel in the middle of nowhere. It meant that I had to get an advance on my Universal Credit, which I am still paying back. They take £40 out of my money each month, which is why I am struggling so much. They were taking £80, but I had to lower it as it was putting me in hardship.”
Layla is currently doing an employment access course where she will get help with her CVs and interviews. She hopes to get some bar or waitressing work and come off benefits.
“Although I am trying to get into work, I am currently on benefits and I barely get anything, I’m always feeling panicked about food and stuff wondering whether am I going to survive this month. After I pay my phone bill. I’m left with about £100 for the month for food, travel, bills and everything else and everything has got so expensive. I remember multipack crisps were 65p in LIDL and now they are £1. You don’t realise how bad it is until you live on your own.”
Layla’s hopes for the future are simple, as she explains, “I don’t want for much. I just want a stable comfortable life where I can make ends meet without worrying all the time.”
“It’s really important to me to be better than my mum was. I want to be there for my brother, I don’t want him left with no family. I want to be a better person. I’m now on meds for my mental health, I’m in my own flat. I’m trying to locate my child trust fund from HMRC so I can get driving lessons.”
Although Layla recognises her mum’s own trauma and how it impacted her behaviour, she’s adamant that she doesn’t want to go down the same path and instead wants to use her own trauma to propel her forwards.
“My mum kept saying to me that if she doesn’t sort herself out, she’s gonna die. What child wants to hear that? I understand people go through trauma and it can create huge barriers, but at the same time you need to get through it. I use it as a reason to keep going and do better. Look at me now. I now have my own place, a stable relationship and I’m trying to get a job and learn to drive. I couldn’t have done it without the staff at Centrepoint.”
We are so impressed by Layla's resilience and drive and wish her all the best for the future.